Relocating frequently certainly has its downfalls, but recently I discovered an unexpected perk: I consume (and therefore spend) a lot less than I used to.
You see, when the timeline of how long you will live in certain location is always in flux, every purchase gets scrutinized. Will I finish this product in a reasonable amount of time? Is this gadget something I want to lug in a suitcase to my next assignment? Will I remember to cancel or forward this subscription next time I move?
While these items don’t save much on their own, over time they certainly allow me to make a dent in my budget. And the habits are easy — which means I’m likely to keep them even when my life settles down,
Cable and DVR
I do occasionally miss marathon sessions of reality cooking shows and being able to watch television in real time. But with a Roku player, along with Hulu Plus and Netflix subscriptions I split with my boyfriend, I’ve weaned myself off expensive cable packages. And if I want to watch a sporting event live, heading down to a local bar is always a great way to get out in my new city.
Corporate housing and hotels usually have fitness centers. While the facilities are almost always minimal, I’ve learned to simplify my workouts and take advantage of free or discounted fitness classes where I can find them.
Fancy kitchen gadgets
I love to cook, and my aforementioned obsession with cooking shows only fuels the fire. In the past, I would obsess over single-use appliances and the newest advances in kitchen “technology.” But culling my kitchen to its bare bones has forced me to become a more efficient cook, which has stopped countless impulse buys in their tracks.
Everyone knows the pain of moving large (and heavy) media libraries. It simply wasn’t something I was willing to put up with while living a mobile lifestyle. I sold or donated all my books, movies and music through Amazon or Ebay, and now buy digital media or — even better — borrow from the library or rent.
Excess household supplies
Like many people, I used to not pay close attention to the quantities of toiletries and cleaning products that came through my home. But when you’re never quite sure of when your next move will be, your attitude toward these items completely changes. I now buy multi-purpose cleaning products and use them sparingly, wash larger loads of clothing with higher-quality detergent and am more careful with my use of kitchen supplies like paper towels and dishwashing soap. And when I do need to replace a common product, I always try to use a coupon or catch it on sale.